In short? It does get better. Let me set the scene......you and your partner have just had your bundle of joy who you have wanted for however long you can remember. You finally have your own family and you cannot wait for parenthood to begin. The first few days are tough of course for any parent as you try to get use to those sleepless nights and constant nappy changing, but then, just as you think you are getting the hang of the whole baby thing, your cute baby suddenly starts to cry, and cry, and cry and no matter what you do, for example check for a dirty nappy or check to see if they are hungry, they just will not stop crying. You find yourself pulling your hair out as to why your baby is crying and wondering whether it is something you have done. You can feel a bit of tension between you and your partner as you pass your baby backwards and forwards taking it in turns trying to soothe them. By the end of the day you feel like this:
Infant Colic is described as being a baby who cries for more than 3 hours a day when they are medically fine and it is actually common in many babies. The majority of the time the fussy period is in the evening. Some people refer to this as the witching hour as it is, well, not a nice time for it to happen. It usually peaks around the 4 to 6 weeks mark and by around 3 months it should have settled down. Of course every baby is different and those that suffer with it may only have it for a couple of weeks or it could be a couple of months before it starts to go. You may have a baby who has infant colic if they are fussier in the evening and when they cry they hold their hands in a fist, their legs curl up and or their bellys may seem swollen. Their episodes of crying may be quite short but many, or fewer but long and they eventually tire themselves out through exhaustion. A doctor or health physician will be able to tell you if your baby has colic so you can rule out other problems too. Sometimes it can be formula, foods you are eating if you are breastfeeding, medicine or the actual feeding of your baby that causes the infant colic so you may want to keep a diary to see if any of these trigger the crying.
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Like I said at the start it does get better. If you have a partner work together to take it in turns to comfort your baby and if you are on your own then turn to friends and family to help. Some things that may help comfort your baby is to wear a baby sling and put them in there, as then you have your arms free and the more they are held during the day the less likely they are to cry from being put down at night. Gently rocking your baby may help as many babies love the swinging motion. This of course is usually the first thing you will all try anyways as it is natural to rock a crying baby. You could try singing or a pacifier if you are happy for them to use one. A trip in the car or the pushchair usually helps get them to sleep......although you will find that you have to push or drive for a while as the second you stop they know and will wake up! Some people swear by gripe water, but like with all methods, what works for one baby may not work for another. White noise is also a great way to comfort them, and this can be anything from the noise of a fan to the noise of a washing machine. These days with smartphones you can get whitenoise apps for free that do the job perfectly.
The good news is infant colic will pass eventually. Be strong and take all the help you can get, even if it is just to get someone you know round to hold your baby for half an hour so you can have a break. It will seem like a lifetime whilst it is happening but once your baby gets past the 3-4 month stage it will go away and be replaced with smiles, laughter and the next exciting developments to come like rolling over and crawling! You will soon realise that it was hard but you would do it all again for another child as the rewards you get from your baby as they grow make everything worthwhile.